Was Contentious EU Summit a Harbinger of Things to Come?
Are Deadlocked European Union (EU) negotiations an indication of the bloc’s future leadership and trajectory?
Following European Parliamentary elections in May, EU leaders gathered in Brussels on June 20-21 to discuss appointments to the Union’s top positions. Consensus was hard to find: Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar summed up the mood of the gathering when he quipped at the end of the first day that it is easier to elect a pope.
There are many top positions to fill. Not only must a new European Commission President, European Council President, and European Parliament President be selected, but also the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the president of the European Central Bank.
But this year, EU leaders have to navigate the most fractured Parliament since elections began in 1979, and that is the crux of the problem. Two parties have typically dominated the bloc: the center-right European People’s Party, or EPP, and the center-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, or S&D. Although these remain the two biggest groups in Parliament, each suffered substantial losses with last month’s election. Their duopoly effectively over, both have been forced to compromise.
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